The city’s biggest foodievent is upon us this week, and it’s called S.F. Chefs. For the uninitiated, it’s a big, week-long series of parties and seminars and stuff, all centered around two nights in the Grand Tasting tent in Union Square. Now, Grub Street is of the opinion that this event is actually more fun and has better food than the nearby (and more expensive) Pebble Beach Food & Wine, minus all the big banquet dinners. And many local chefs seem to agree that this event is their favorite among the many others that hit their calendars throughout the year. So, get out your indigestion pills and join us will you? We’ve got a rundown of some highlights below.
Monday, August 1
Starting tonight, it’s Restaurant Week all over the city. It’s a prime opportunity to try out a place you’ve been meaning to get to, and kind of like Dine About Town, each restaurant is featuring a three-course dinner prix fixe for $35. Also, they’ll each have a $20, two-course prix fixe at lunch.
Tuesday, August 2
As part of the Industry Series of seminars, there’s a Cocktail Clinic at the Westin St. Francis from 3 to 5 p.m., featuring H. Joseph Ehrmann (Elixir), Duggan McDonnell (Cantina), and Camper English (Alcademics.com) discussing how to make a simple and great cocktail program for your restaurant. We’re guessing this will be enjoyable for those who don’t have a restaurant as well. Tickets are $25.
As before, S.F. Chefs is produced by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association and presented by Visa Signature.
Thursday, August 4
The Sugar and Spice party, now an annual affair, brings together savory and pastry chefs, as well as good cocktails, in a sort of miniature grand tasting in the Westin’s top floor ballroom. Chefs on the savory side include David Lawrence (1300 on Fillmore) and Mourad Lahlou, and on the sweet side: Lincoln Carson (Michael Mina), Alan Carter (Mission Beach Café), Ethan Howard (Murray Circle), Melissa Chou (Aziza), and Bill Corbett (Absinthe). Tickets are $65.
Friday, August 5
The first night of the Grand Tasting tends to be the most fun, but this year’s event is, sadly, already sold out. But there are still tickets for the after-party at the City Club that looks like it will be pretty fun! And you can just save yourself for Saturday and Sunday in the tent.
Saturday, August 6
Okay, so you’ve got three more Grand Tasting opportunities, starting on Saturday afternoon and continuing through Sunday. Tickets run from $100 to $125 and will likely sell out like Friday did.
Also, there’s the Illy Chefs Challenge from 4 to 5:30 p.m., across the street at the Westin, featuring a cookoff between two teams of “as-seen-on-TV” chefs — Chris Cosentino (Chef vs. City, Incanto) and Elizabeth Falkner (Top Chef Masters, Citizen Cake & Orson) take on Dominique Crenn (Next Iron Chef, Atelier Crenn) and Russell Jackson (a.k.a. “The Dissident Chef”, Lafitte). Tickets: $50.
And Top Chef All Stars winner Richard Blais will be serving up bites alongside other TC alums at the Saturday night afterparty at 10 p.m. at the Westin, and tickets for that are $65.